RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Horse Racing returned to Colonial Downs on Monday, a year after it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was a lot of excitement on the opening day of the New Kent track. Around 2,000 people watched the live race from the grandstands.

For fans like Jeff Rouse from Suffolk, there are many fond memories of Colonial Downs.

About 2,000 fans came to Colonial Downs for the first day of horse racing on July 19th. Photo: Kerri O’Brien / 8News

“I worked here on the opening day 15, 16 years ago,” he said, adding that it’s a great place. “It’s really a great track for owners, trainers, jockeys and horses.”

Tom Kelly from Yorktown brought out the whole family. He said, “Opening day they have some good coaches, some good athletes, it’s a good day to get the family out and have a good day.”

From now until September 1st, viewers can watch the action, place their bets and risk their luck.

Colonial Downs prepares for the 21-day season year-round and welcomes fans back on Monday

One big difference this season: no weekend races. Post time is on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:45 p.m.

John Marshall, executive vice president of operations at Colonial Downs Group, calls it matinee racing, a schedule they had to announce back in November when Virginia was still locked.

“We decided to go early in the week, early in the day, to try and dampen the live audience,” he said.

Entry is free and you can expect around nine races each day.

For more information, including the 2021 race schedule, please visit the Colonial Downs website.